Accepted paper:

Road accidents in Zimbabwe: the case of Chinhamo service centre

Author:

Edwin Mhandu (University of Zimbabwe)

Paper short abstract:

The paper focuses on what people say concerning road accidents that occur on a one kilometre stretch between Koala and Chinhamo service centre.

Paper long abstract:

The paper explores urban myths concerning road accidents that occur between the 16 kilometre and 17 kilometre pegs along Seke road linking Harare and Chitungwiza in Zimbabwe. We argue that there exist a range of views with regard to the exact causes and nature of the carnage that occurs on the one kilometre stretch, that is from Koala to Chinhamo service centre. Some people argue from a rational standpoint that contributing factors to the high accident rate include the bend in the road, the state of disrepair of the vehicles, and the condition of the road. However, this does not explain the mysterious events often believed to take place on the Koala to Chinhamo stretch of the road. Within Shona traditional belief systems, a place where accidents usually occur is haunted by the spirit(s) of a person or people who were murdered. The murdered people then come to haunt the living until the living atone for the murder. This paper considers the range of interpretations given to the accidents on this road, and argues that further accidents can only be prevented if all interpretations are recognized as valid.

panel P095
The road to perdition: road danger and predatory transport policies in Africa